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Archive for February, 2011

I grew up in the shadow of a war and seen dictators tumble and the new come in their wake. I have seen Stalin exercising absolute power and the politburo treated like toilet roll. There were many even after the Soviet bloc collapsed officially imitating the great psychopath. I also see those who have no ideology but power. Every one of them sitting on the throne and growing old. They are touted as fathers to their people. They cannot really see straight for the sake of people or for themselves. Why are they then allowed to sleep on their jobs? Obviously the people have let them. People have been thus made fools of for some millennia.
Not any more. I have been seeing in the Middle- East people reclaiming their right to topple their heads of state who have ceased to lead. These heads of state have had not a single idea by which they could benefit. So they became poorer when a few close to the figurehead have fattened. It is clear that no one becomes rich out of thin air. Those who became poorer became poorer only because they let others rob them, their rights,opportunities and lives. The back-room boys,cabal, cliques and party bosses owe to none but to their own power. This power as with millions stolen from the public they can peddle to make their power secure. Power-play is the name of the game. People do not know if they have power because they never knew they alienated power to hungry jackals who prosper at their cost. It happened in Tunisia, Egypt and the whole Middle- East need to know their power does not come from external sources but from themselves.
The people allowed Mubark and others to think for them. The same problem shall surely arise if they were to allow some vested parties think for them in future. Religion has made frauds come with the deceiving words to lead the people. Instead of Mubarak some shall make a grab for their power using religion. Or it may be that some cursed ungodly ideology that has no meaning or relevance to them and if they succeed use them as a test case. Ayatollahs and Mullahs ought to sit where they belong. They are not licensed to deprive the people of their right to choose what is best for their families. They may guide them in their spiritual quest but not twist their physical lives to show their power to their advantage. Kings, Ayatollahs or any privileged group who think they want to have power without responsibility are frauds.
Destiny of every Middle Eastern country depends on their people. Definitely it does not rest with some one who would rather use suicide bombers than do his duty. Duty of an Egyptian is to think for himself in which direction he wants his children to grow up. Either prosper or go up in smoke with their bits of flesh and pieces of bones scattered from the Golden Horn to the strait of Hormuz?
If people do not exercise their responsibility they shall be certainly run over by every fraud whose religion is suspect, whose promises are written in the wind.
benny

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Anecdotes-Sydney Smith

Sidney Smith (1771-1845)
clergy,wit

One Captain Ross wanted to undertake a Polar expedition for which he needed the Government support. To this end he send an intermediary to the Lord Advocate. Francis Jefferies,the Lord advocate when contacted was in not a mood to listen to the go-between who still persisted. Jefferies raised all sorts of objections and finally damned North Pole. Captain Ross when informed was angry and complained to Sidney Smith. He ended his complaints by saying,’What do you think he said to me? Why, he damned the North pole!’
‘Well never mind,never mind,’said Smith soothingly,’never mind his damning the North Pole. I’ve heard him speak disrespectfully of the equator’.
2.
Sydney Smith was once sitting by the bay-window and writing while he had a visitor who was come expressly to collect the history of the distinguished families in Somersetshire. The pompous man seized with his high calling was sure Sydney Smith was one whose antecedents would grace the work. While he paused to catch his breath the genial clergyman said it was a matter of regret indeed,”not to be able to contribute to so valuable a work; but the Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs.”
3.
I do not know if the following anecdote is genuine but is typical of Smith’s genial nature given the circumstances when man’s words fail to strike the right note.
Sydney Smith required nursing care in his last illness and the nurse who ministered him spoon-fed him accidentally with ink. Seeing the patient’s tongue turning blue she had a fright. While blubbering being overcome with the enormity of her blunder, the canon could catch the words, ‘I fed you with ink!’.
Even under such grave provocation he managed to reply, ‘Oh never mind, get me all the blotting paper you can get hold of, I’ll manage.’
benny

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Eamon de Valera ( 1882-1975)
During his younger days the Irish statesman was often getting into trouble for expressing his political beliefs. He took such arrests and confinement as a nuisance but part of the risks the Irish were taking to throw off the yoke of British rule. At one time he was arrested in the middle of a speech. Having served one year prison sentence he returned to the same auditorium from where he was hauled off. Facing the crowd the gangly stork-like politician began,”As I was saying when I was interrupted…”

benny

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LORD GEORGE GORDON BYRON, (1788 – 1824) British
Poet

A gifted poet with dashing looks gilded with the rank, he was the 6th baron, born to a strong willed heiress and a profligate father. He as a boy lived in penury. Byron became Lord Byron at the age of ten and had a unstable childhood reared under an overbearing mother and seduced at the age of nine by a wicked nurse Mary Gay. He was bruised by childhood traumas: his life with mother made him aware of the eccentric and wild side of his ancestors and his mother was certain he would turn out to be like his scapegrace father. He spent his childhood divided between Scotland and in London. The story of Cain and the idea of evil done under compulsion, and the man cursed for his sin haunted his imagination. He was in a sense one who did his best to outrun his doomladen heredity real or imagined.
When he came to the title he was brought to Newstead Abbey, the family seat with a capital of £75. Sent to Harrow he was set to prove himself. He excelled himself in games, swimming and began to write verses. He also fell, in and out of love a trait which was to last for the rest of his life.
He as the poet himself confessed, found himself overnight famous – despite all the accomplishment his congenital clubfoot drove him to despair and as a child loved the solitude of the tombs and there it must have first filled him with the transience of earthly glory. His attitude of ironic despair and his aspirations for political liberty made him the universal symbol of the Romantic poet. Partly his personality and largely his poetry captured the imagination of Europe.
In 1812 he gave his politically radical maiden speech in the House of the Lords and published his autobiographical poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’. Byron was then swept into a tide of fame and unfortunate love affairs; during this period he wrote the oriental tales ‘The Giaour’ and the ‘Bride of Abydos’ (1813) and ‘the Corsair’ and ‘Lara’ (1814). He made a disastrous marriage in 1815 and his involvement with his pretty and shallow half-sister ended in a scandal, which made the poet an outcast in London social circles. He was divorced in the following year and then embarked into a self-imposed exile to Europe. During his last years, he wrote ‘Don Juan’, a masterpiece in its genre and the ‘Prophecy of Dante’ and ‘Cain’ (1821).
He entered into the fight for Greek independence (1823-’24). During the misadventures that followed Byron steadfastly helped the Greek cause and he died of a fever.
Trivia: He called his wife Annabelle Millibanke ‘Princess of Parallelogram. Their daughter was Ada who extended the practical use of the ‘computer’ developed by Charles Babbage.

Anecdote:

While chatting with a clergy man who had much common sense Lord Byron grumbled at the twist of fate. The clergyman tried to convince the Providence against which he protested had endowed him with rich array of blessings,-his rank, wit, fortune and above all a mind that placed him above the rest of the mankind.
‘Ah, my friend,’ said Byron mournfully pointing to his forehead, ‘if this paces me above the rest of mankind,’ and pointing to his foot, ‘that places me far, far below them.’

benny

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William Faulkner (1897-1962)
Faulkner intended to create ‘an intact world of his own’ like Balzac and his imaginary Yoknapatacopha County is not at all a fictional picture of his native Lafayette County, Mississippi, but a realplace where he set his universally human legends. His characters apart from the idiots are all manically wilful and individualistic;moreover his characters are normally too proud to explain themselves. Excelling at dark descriptions of physical experiences he is ominous and dramatic without revealing some essential fact straightaway so the effect may come at the end shatteringly. He was uneven and sometimes pretentious writer and paternalistic about Civil Rights but he wrote five very good books,’As I lay dying’, The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom! And the Hamlet.’

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CAIRO – Cries of “Egypt is free” rang out and fireworks lit up the sky as hundreds of thousands danced, wept and prayed in joyful pandemonium after 18 days of peaceful pro-democracy protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to surrender power to the military, ending three decades of authoritarian rule.(AP News)
I call Mubarak a nobody because he was a guest forced on the people because of an emergency. The only legitimacy he has had on them was he was a son of the soil, an Egyptian as any. When the house caught fire he was asked to put it out. Like a guest who overstayed he stayed on and what he did? He threw his weight around and helped himself to the best and made the householder sleep in the stable. He was called in at an emergency. He is a nobody because as a guest he forgot his standing and rubbished the rules of good breeding. He was a guest who strained his welcome till he was thrown out..
He is a nobody because he and his family took advantage of the situation to aggrandize himself. He forgot once again one cardinal rule required in a guest:not to to decamp with the spoons and forks, sterling silver and pride and joy of the house.
Woeful lack of etiquette makes him a nobody.
Did he share while he enjoyed wonderful hospitality of all, the burden even a little or lighten their loads? No he didn’t. He didn’t share in the pride and joy of the family or pay respect to their ancestors. While he made his own family help to the fortunes or name of the host he didn’t make the beard of the pharaoahs any longer or the Nile any bluer. He is a nobody whom the whole family finally got rid of. When he left the whole family cried because they were deliriously happy. He was a nobody alright.
benny

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